Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle and others mentioned, belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement on their rights are intended.


Subtext Disclaimer: Yes, the sex is back, so for anyone who is adverse to the thought of two consenting adult females having a very good time, go away. If you’re under age, go away. If it’s illegal where you live, go away. Everybody else, you’re welcome.


Timeline: Plan D #9. (Not 8h or anything like that. Grace and Faith are back!)


Shock Factor: 3. No blood. No death. But lots of heavy breathing.


Note: Okay, the scrolls have been tucked back in the safe and we’re back in the present. The couple you have been watching are back and haven’t changed one iota for their brief absense from your life. Trust me. I know these things.

Thanks to Ann for giving this one a really good going over and to all the readers who have stuck with the Plan D series, I send you my most humble appreciation. You’re all nuts and the men with large nets and wrap around sport jackets are on the way.


Send comments to asdease1@gte.net


Enjoy.


Back in Black?


By FlyBigD


Xena pushed the book until she heard the latch click, then she stared at it for a moment with a soft smile on her face. Chuckling, she turned around and took a couple of steps forward, stopping to lean on the railing. Looking around the library, she smiled at the books that surrounded her and she let her eyes drop to the first floor seeing the sun streaking through the windows behind Gabrielle’s mahogany desk.


/7

Sighing, she moved to the spiral staircase and took the steps slowly downward. At the bottom, she paused and stretched, feeling the aches of sitting all day come to haunt her and cracking every conceivable joint, plus a few that didn’t show up on x-rays. As she shook off the last effects of confinement, Xena put her hands on her hips and took another look around. “Well, now what?” Asking no one but the books and getting no answer. Shrugging, the warrior moved to the desk and sat down in the bard’s large leather chair and pushed it away from the desk. Using the space to it’s full advantage, Xena proceeded to spin the chair around as fast as she could. When she reached warp speed, she leaned back, lifted her legs and closed her eyes, watching the light and darkness take turns on the outside of her eyelids. Smiling, she felt the chair slow and opened her eyes, just in time to be blinded as it stopped facing the window and the mid afternoon sun lowered below the roof of the porch and stared golden rays into her baby blues. Frowning, Xena covered her eyes and spun around and shook out the spots that had formed on her retinas. Taking a quick peek, she sighed when the desk came into view and she confirmed that she hadn’t been blinded. Staring at the desk, she scooted the chair forward and rested her hands on the wood, drumming her fingers lightly. When nothing but the sound of her own breathing came to her ears, she sighed again and bobbed her head. “Gabrielle’s right. I don’t do boredom well.” Sighing with that acknowledgement, she let her hand wander over the desk, to the bard’s computer and pushed a key on the keyboard and held it until a low musical chord sounded, then she let go and stared at the screen expectantly. Her lips stretched from ear to ear when the picture of them on their wedding day popped up and little icons started spreading across the bottom of the screen. “I love that picture.” Whispering in the silence, she leaned forward, turning the chair so she faced the monitor and rested her elbows on the edge of the desk. Smiling, she waited for it to boot up then took hold of the mouse and flicked her wrist, sending a little quill scampering madly across the screen. Chuckling, she slowed it down, stopping it on an icon and double clicked. “I don’t know how people sit in front of these all day.” Again whispering, Xena raised an eyebrow at the thought. “It’d drive me nuts.” That’s a short trip, she laughed to herself and saw the bard’s home page pop up. “Hmmmm.” Raising the other eyebrow, the warrior stared at the screen, having done something and now was wondering what she should do next. “I know. I’ll surf.” She nodded in self agreement, and moved the quill to a button and clicked. As the screen changed she chewed on her lip and placed the quill over a long line and single clicked. Moving the quill away, she stared at the blinking cursor. “Keyword?” Sighing, she sat back in the chair and scratched her face. “Keyword?”


/7

As the warrior found herself caught in a quandary over what to surf for, she glanced up at the second floor and the bookcase that held the secret room. Smiling, she moved the quill and scrolled down the page till she got to another button an clicked on it. Humming to herself, she saw the people -searching page pop up and clicked the quill on ‘First Name’, then stared at the screen. “Somehow I don’t think I’m going to get anything with Tiegra”, she told herself, and just went with T instead, then tabbed down to ‘Last Name.’ “Hmmmmm. Nihate?” Xena typed in the name hit the search button and waited. “Nada.” Frowning at the confused monitor, she changed the last name to ‘Night’ and tried again. This time she was surprised to see five names and email addresses pop up. “Huh. T, T, Tersa, Tim and Tom.” Skipping over the three with names, she clicked on the email address for the first T and saw the message center pop up with the address and the cursor clicking on the subject line. Speaking as she typed, she chuckled with her message. “Subject. Missing God. Message. Where have you been for the past two thousand years? Ares can’t be that good in bed. Xena.” Laughing, she sent the message off and repeated it for the other T and then checked Gabrielle’s email. “Greg. Greg. Karen. Jeff. Brian. Yada yada yada.” Sticking out her tongue, Xena left the screen where it was and got up. “Nobody ever wants to talk to me.” Frowning, she ignored the little voice in the back of her head that reminded her that she didn’t have a computer and refused to get her own email account. “I’ll check and see if the junk mail people love me.”


/7

Thrusting herself into a pity party, Xena left the library, walked through the kitchen, through the living room and out the front door. Taking a deep breath, she inhaled the scent of the pines around her and closed her eyes. Stretching, almost in reflex, she opened her eyes and stepped off the porch. As she walked up the long dirt drive, the warrior reflected on the memories that had been awakened by reading the scrolls. While old images danced in her mind, she felt a sudden surge of warrior juices and jumped behind a tree, scanned the road then ran to another tree and did the same thing. Crouching down, Xena raised an eyebrow looking down the drive and smiled. Cocking her head, she leapt from behind the tree and let out an ancient battle cry and took off running. Gaining speed, she took one long stride and started flipping hands over feet down the drive. After a hundred yards, she went high in the air and completed a somersault, then landed back down in a crouch and laughed like a little kid. “Oh, Gabrielle’s going to hate this mood.” Jumping up with the thought, she walked again, feeling every part of her body tingle with the old feelings of constant awareness and smiled. When she reached the highway, her senses were in overdrive and she was bouncing with energy. Going to the mail box, she flipped the door down and peeked in. “Well somebody loves me.” Chuckling at the mass of darkness, she put her hand in and pulled out a wad of envelopes, flyers and a small box. Swinging the door into place, she started to flip through the mail and headed back down the drive. “Bill, bill, bill, don’t want any water treatment, thank you.” Placing the flyer in the back of the stack in her arms. “Oooo. You too can have the soft silky skin you’ve always dreamed of.” She smirked as another flyer went to the rear. “Well, Gabrielle. What have you bought this time?” Holding up the small box, Xena’s ears went back as her skin jumped and she jumped after it. Turning quickly, she saw the bard’s truck coming down the drive like a tornado. “Shit.” Standing in the middle of the drive, her eyes grew wide and she finally jumped off the drive and dove for a tree, as she heard brakes lock up.


/7

Skidding to a stop, Gabrielle swung the door open and jumped out of the truck, coming around the vehicle with a growl and spotted the warrior. “Xena!”


/7

Waving at the cloud of dust and dirt that engulfed her, the warrior stood and coughed. “Hey! Where’s the fire?” Which were the last words she got out before the bard hit her in the arm so hard, tears came to her eyes and she bent over with pain. “Aaaaaaaaoooooowwww.” Stomping her foot to help with the pain, Xena closed her eyes.


/7

“Where the hell have you been?” Gabrielle yelled and put her hands on her hips. “I’ve been trying to call you all day.”


/7

Feeling a couple of tears run down her cheeks, Xena opened her eyes and stared at the dark green pumps the bard had on. “I was reading.” Getting the words out, in between the pounding throbs in her arm. “Why did you hit me?” Managing to hold onto the mail, the warrior rubbed her most assuredly broken appendage and straightened enough to see green fire burning in her direction.


/7

“Xena, where have you been all day? I tried to call here ten times and no body answered.” Turning around, Gabrielle kicked the tire of her truck. “I almost had the police come out here.” Her voice still a few decibels above normal, the bard whirled back and clenched her jaw. “Where the hell have you been? I was worried sick.”


Straightening a little more, the warrior’s brow knitted. “I was up in the room reading.”

/7

“What room?” Tapping her foot, the bard folded her arms across her chest. “Reading what?”


“Your scrolls.” Closing her eyes, Xena rubbed her aching arm.

/7

“And you were so enthralled, you couldn’t answer the phone?” The warrior’s words bringing little relief for her anger.


/7

“The door was closed.” Straightening a little more, Xena eased to her full height, still holding onto her arm. “I didn’t hear the phone. I’m sorry.”


/7

Raising one eyebrow, Gabrielle let out a long sigh and unfolded her arms. “Xena, you had me worried to death. Why did you close the door?”


/7

Xena shrugged, which sent a bolt of pain up from her arm and she frowned. “I don’t know.”

Shaking her head, the bard paced a small circle and came back to the warrior. “Why were you up there?”

Sighing, the warrior shook her head. “I don’t know. I just kinda ended up there.” Remembering not to shrug, she smiled. “I got bored.”

Gabrielle rolled her eyes, knowing what the word meant and lowered her head. “Xena.” She said softly.


/7

“I’m sorry.” Whispering, the warrior bit her lip. “Are you going to hit me again?” Holding her ground against the possibility of another assault.


/7

Closing her eyes, the bard sighed. “Maybe.” Opening her eyes, she lifted her head and stared into pained baby blue. “I thought something happened to you.”


/7

Letting go of her arm, Xena adjusted the mail and smiled. “Sorry.” Putting on her best pouty apologetic face.


/7

Another long sigh escaped the bard’s lips and she rolled her eyes. “What am I going to do with you? I almost called 911.” Stepping toward the warrior, Gabrielle touched the injured arm.


/7

“Ow.” Xena said softly and looked down at the bard. “I might call them anyway, if you’re going to hit me again.” Which got her arms squeezed and she yelped, almost dropping the mail. Stepping back, she frowned. “Meanie.”


/7

Gabrielle raised one eyebrow and scowled. “I should’ve cold cocked you with a tire iron, for all the worry you put me through today.” Stepping backwards, she turned the scowl into a smiling glare. “The only reason I didn’t call the police, is because I half expected you to break your promise and come riding up on the bombshell. It was the big test today.” Knowing this tidbit would have a far greater impact on the warrior than any more scolding, she smiled when Xena stomped the ground.


“That was today?” Xena whined and made an unhappy face.

/7

Shaking her head with a loud chuckle, Gabrielle smiled. “Actually, it’s tomorrow, but I couldn’t resist seeing you suffer.”


/7

That got a really unhappy face from the warrior and she turned, heading down the drive, sending up little dust balls as she kicked the dirt with each step. She was followed by loud laughter and the sound of a door closing. Moving to the side of the drive, she ignored Gabrielle when the truck pulled up beside her.


Leaning over, the bard rolled down the passenger window and smiled. “Get in.”

“I’d rather burn in hell.” The warrior informed her and clutched the mail in frustration.

“We’ve been there and done that. Get in.” Fighting back a chuckle, the bard looked up and adjusted her course to keep from hitting a tree, as the truck crept slowly along.

“No!” Snapping her head around, Xena glared.

/7

“Xena, I’m burning up the clutch.” Revving the engine in support of her argument, the bard turned the steering wheel a bit.


/7

Stretching out her stride, the warrior picked up speed, then her face showed much astonishment, when the truck started pulling past her. “Hey!” Shouting.


/7

Smiling, Gabrielle took the truck out of gear and coasted to a stop. Watching the passenger mirror, she saw the warrior coming and bit her lip. Holding in the laughter, she waited for Xena to climb in and then put the truck in first and started off down the drive.

“Little snot-nosed brat.” Xena mumbled under her breath.

“Takes one to know one.” The bard retorted to the hushed jibe.

Grumbling in her head, the warrior sat silently and watched the trees out the window.

As they got close to the house, the bard felt a need to lighten the mood and sighed. “So what were you reading, anyway?”

“Scrolls.” Still watching the trees, Xena sniped.

Gabrielle rolled her eyes and shook her head, as she pulled the truck around the small circle in front of the house. Stopping next to the steps, she shut off the engine and pulled the parking break. “Xena.” Placing her hand on the warrior’s shoulder, she gave it a gentle squeeze.

Xena had her bottom lip half way to California when she turned to face the bard.

Closing her eyes, Gabrielle bit her tongue and sighed. “I’m sorry I hit you.” Opening her eyes, the bard saw the lip go in a little. “You just had me so worried. With the dream and everything, I didn’t know what was going on.”


/7

Pulling her lip back a tad more, Xena sighed. “I know. I’m sorry, I should’ve left the door open.”

Nodding as they reached a mutual apology, Gabrielle tugged on the warrior’s arm, pulling her over. “I love you.” She whispered and pushed the bottom lip all the way in with a kiss.

Dropping the mail, Xena cupped the bard’s face with her hands and deepened the kiss, until the heat rose to broil.

Suddenly forgetting why she was mad and her name and everything else she knew, Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena’s neck and tried to breathe as the warrior
became very insistent. Turning to bring their bodies toward one another, she was pressed up against the door as a hand ran up the outside of her thigh. Cursing, between kisses, she kicked the stick shift as her legs were pulled around and she was brought downward to lay on the bench seat.

Xena had to bend her knees and stick her feet out the passenger window to cover the bard’s body with her own, neither of which distracted her from trying to consume every inch of Gabrielle’s skin with hot kisses. Pulling on the dark blue silk top, she found a little more and burned a trail over the bard’s neck and collar bone, while using her other hand to raise the dark green linen skirt. Lifting her hips off the bard, she slid her fingers beneath cotton undies and found hot wetness amongst blonde curls.

“Xena.” Gabrielle gasped, feeling the warrior make contact with her center and parted her legs, bringing them up over Xena’s and arching her back, when three fingers were thrust deep inside her core. “Gods!” Squeezing her eyes shut, her hips started rocking immediately, matching Xena’s quick thrusting rhythm and she gripped the warrior’s loose cotton shirt. Pulling the material up, she dug her fingers into the tanned skin underneath and groaned as the warrior did the same with the blue silk.

Keeping her fingers thrusting, while the silk was edged upward, she used her thumb and index finger to release the front hook on Gabrielle’s bra. Pulling the material away, her lips quickly found the firm flesh and she felt the bard’s fingernails dig into her back.

“Oh gods!.” The bard groaned harshly, feeling her body being assaulted with heated passion and she craned her neck back, when the warrior grazed her teeth over a nipple. “Xena, please . . . gods!” Suddenly the thrusting went deeper and faster and her head thrashed from side to side, of it’s own accord as her hips bucked wildly. “Shit! Yes! Gods!”

Moving her hand against the bard’s center, Xena moved her mouth to the other breast and sucked hard, flicking her tongue over the nipple. Feeling the muscle around her
fingers start to pulsate, she increased the pace and shifted upward, taking Gabrielle’s lips in an all consuming kiss.

Unable to control any of her motor functions, Gabrielle’s body rocked of it’s own volition and she felt herself speeding toward the edge of sanity, like a bullet. “Oh god! Xena!” Crying out, the bard arched her back when the orgasm started and she felt her air supply disappear, when the warrior took her in another kiss.

Pressing her body down on the bard’s, Xena rode out the climax and continued with her thrusting fingers until the third orgasm passed and Gabrielle finally made her slow descent from the apex. Pulling out, the warrior lowered her body fully onto the bard’s and smiled as she kissed a light path up the glistening skin of the bard’s neck.

“Gods.” Whispering, panting and sweating, Gabrielle ran her fingers through her hair and tried to catch her breath. “Xena.” Whispering in between gasps, as her body started to relax.

“Hmmm?” Lifting up on one elbow, the warrior looked down into liquid green pools.

“Which scroll did you read today?” Breathing heavily, Gabrielle stared up into a satisfied face.

“Why?” Flicking her eyebrows with a smirk.

“I want to put it on the nightstand.” Closing her eyes, the bard felt the warrior’s body chuckle against her. Running her hand over Xena’s back, she smiled and opened her eyes. “That and I’m recommending myself for a Pulitzer Prize for most motivational non-fiction reference material of the twentieth century.”

Laughing, the warrior gave her a quick kiss. “I read the scrolls in the safe.” Doing another dance with her eyebrows, Xena brushed her lips over the bards and smiled big. “All of them.”

As her brow knitted in disbelief, Gabrielle cocked her head and stared. “You read all of T’s scrolls?” Her breathing almost back to normal, she filled her lungs and let the air
out slowly. “All of them?”

Nodding, the warrior saw the awestuck expression facing her and chuckled. “That’s why you couldn’t get me all day.”

“If I’d known they would’ve had this effect on you, I would’ve locked you up in there a long time ago.” Chuckling herself, Gabrielle shook her head.

“Amazing what a little fresh air can do for a girl, huh?” Lowering her lips to the bards, Xena gave her several long tender kisses. “I’m adding some ventilation to that room, by the way.”

“You can put in a disco ball and strobe lights in the room if it will make you meet me at the mail box every day.” Lowering her hands, Gabrielle ran them over the denim covering Xena’s butt and kneaded the muscle underneath. “Although, I may have to get a bigger truck.” Moving her head to the side, she smiled looking at Xena’s bare feet hanging over the edge of the passenger window.

Wiggling her toes, the warrior smiled. “I think this old bruiser is just the right size.” Moving down the bard’s body, Xena emphasized her point by kissing her way to a nipple and flicked it with her tongue. “I could stay like this all day.” Taking the nipple between her lips, she pulled gently and got a muffled gasp from the bard.

“Xena.” Closing her eyes, Gabrielle put a halt to anymore pleasure for the moment and lifted Xena’s head from her breast. “Can we finish this inside? The seat belt thing is digging into my back.” Shifting to the edge of the seat, she pointed to the small square metal box.

Smiling at the word Jeep, Xena nodded and raised up, bringing her legs down to the floorboard and pulling the bard up with her. Sighing, she settled against the passenger door and took in the half naked bard. “I guess it’s a good thing we don’t live in an apartment complex.” Leaning over, she kissed Gabrielle’s exposed tummy. “We’d have police records a mile long.”

“The boonies do have their advantages.” Smirking, the bard pushed the warrior’s advances back and hooked her bra, then pulled her blouse back down. Bringing her butt off the seat, she smoothed out the skirt and saw the pouty face coming back. “Xena, just grab the mail.” Rolling her eyes, Gabrielle managed to get her legs back on her side of the stick shift and open the door, before Xena made a lunge for her. Slapping the groping hands, she jumped out of the truck and laughed as a groan came, when she closed the door.

Sighing, Xena watched the bard go up the steps to the porch and then inside. Frowning, she grabbed the mail and followed behind. Inside, she closed the front door and went to the dining table to dump the mail on it’s polished surface. “Are you hungry?” She asked, flipping through the mail again.

“Is that a rhetorical question?” Coming out of the kitchen with an apple, Gabrielle bit into it and chewed contentedly.

Turning, the warrior rolled her eyes. “Then I guess I couldn’t interest you in some greasy cheese burgers and home fries.” Smiling when the bard’s face lit up, she chuckled when arms wrapped around her waist and squeezed her.

“You’re reading those scrolls every day.” Gabrielle informed the warrior and put her apple on the table. “First you pounce on me in the truck and now you’re going to cook? I think I need to check the ink. Maybe I can sell it as an aphrodisiac.” Moving her hands under Xena’s shirt, she rubbed warm skin and smiled up into amused blue eyes.

“Have you ever considered that the aphrodisiac is you?” Putting on a sultry smile, Xena lowered her head and captured apple flavored lips. Then she proceeded to pick up where they’d left off and somewhere in the next couple of hours, a lot of passion made it’s way around the living room, as clothes were haphazardly discarded and a few dining chairs were knocked over, but since they lived in the boonies, no body called the police when loud noises and a few shouts echoed through the walls.

**********

“That’s soooo good.” Gabrielle moaned as she took another bite of her big fat juicy cheese burger.

“Sex and food are the only things you really get hot over, aren’t they?” Biting into her own burger, the warrior dodged a playful swat and chewed with a smug smile. Leaning back, she propped her feet on the chair across the table from her and leaned into the bard. “You’re soooo lucky I risked life and limb to cook these.” She glanced out the window at the storm that had come up during their tour of the living room. “I could've been struck by lightning or something.” Running a hand through her wet hair.

“I’m just glad I got the windows in the truck up, before the cab got flooded.” Smiling, the bard tousled her own wet hair and took another bite of her burger.

“Oh. Now I see where you’re loyalties lie.” Getting snitty, Xena took a bite and chewed. “It’s a good thing I know you love me, or else my ego would die of malnutrition.”

“I know.” Picking up a fry, Gabrielle shoved it into the warrior’s smug mug, then chuckled and pulled her robe tighter around her shoulders, when Xena shifted her smile to the area of her neck. “Eat your food.” Pushing the face back, the bard took another bite and set the burger down. Knitting her brow, she ignored the overly amorous warrior and leaned sideways, bringing the mail closer with the sweep of her arm. “What wonderful opportunities do we have today?” Flipping through the envelopes and flyers.

“You can get silky skin and your tires rotated for $19.99.” Chuckling, Xena sat up and reached a hand over the bard’s plate, picking up some envelopes.

“Oh, joy.” Gabrielle said with no enthusiasm.

“Well, it’s just the usual.” Tossing the mail aside, Xena went back to her burger and fries.

“So, Xena.” Doing the same, the bard shoved some fries in her mouth and chewed slowly. “What did you think of the scrolls?” Turning her head to look at the warrior.

Smiling, Xena picked up a fry and twirled it around. “Well, I could go on about how well you write and I could say that you have a wonderful way with the Ungaran
language and I could even say that anything that could hold my attention all day must be worth some sort of award, but I won’t do that.” Sticking the fry in her mouth, Xena turned to look into perplexed green eyes. “Instead, I’d rather concentrate on your ability to make me look like a jealous idiot in every single piece of musty leather in that safe.”
Raising her eyebrows, as all the things she had intended to discuss with the bard came rushing back into her mind.

Wincing, Gabrielle found an envelope very interesting and shrugged. “I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.” Smiling, until strong hands started tickling her ribs. “Xena!” Trying to get away, the bard fell out of the chair and was swooped up by two strong arms. “Xena, I didn’t mean it. I swear.”

“Toooooo late.” Hanging onto her squirming package, the warrior headed for the couch, where she dropped the bard and pounced. “You’ve got more than one tiger to deal with, missy.”

**********

“Are you sure you don’t want me to give you a ride?” Gabrielle asked as she looked out the window of their bedroom. “It’s still muddy out there.”

“Nope.” Xena said as she pulled on her bright yellow rain suit. Zipping up the front, she smoothed the velcro into place and wiggled a little, settling the waterproof garment over her regular clothes. “I’ll be fine in this.”

Turning, the bard took in the bright yellow and chewed her lip. “You’ll be careful, right?” As her brow knitted, Gabrielle walked over to the warrior and ran a hand over the suit.

“I promise.” Whispering, Xena bent down and kissed blonde hair. “I’ll take it slow and easy.” Straightening the hair she mussed, Xena smiled. “You have to be careful too.”

“I will.” Still not happy, Gabrielle sighed.

Chuckling, the warrior put her arm around the bard’s shoulders and squeezed gently. “Come on. We’ll be late.” Guiding Gabrielle toward the door, she put her in the lead
and tugged on an ear lobe. “Of course, we could both call in sick and stay home.”

Tilting her head, the bard smiled. “Can’t. It’s test day.” Moving down the stairs, she turned when she reached the bottom and held up her hand. “And remember your promise. No interrupting my class with the biker babe thing.”

Grabbing the hand, Xena brought it to her lips and winked. “Somehow, I think the effect would be lost with my rain suit on.”

“Still.” Gabrielle warned and raised her eyebrows.

“I promise.” Kissing the bard’s hand, Xena chuckled. “No grand entrances unless it’s an emergency.”

Taking her hand back, the bard smiled. “Good.” Turning, she went to the front door and picked up her briefcase and an umbrella. “Drive safe.”

Moving to stand beside the bard, the warrior lifted a worried face and smiled. “I will.” Leaning down, she kissed warm lips and smiled. “I promise.”

Sighing, the bard nodded and opened the door. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“I love you.” Walking out on the porch, Xena watched the bard get in her truck.

“I love you, too.” Waving, Gabrielle closed the door and picked up a small box off the floor board. Smiling at the warrior, she tossed it on the seat and started the engine.

Waving back, Xena waited until the truck disappeared then went back inside and grabbed her keys and her helmet. Rolling her hair into a ball, she tucked it under the helmet and pulled the straps down tight, then went back on the porch and closed the door. “Another day, another dollar.” Smiling, she walked down the steps and turned, heading for the garage. Tramping through the mud, she lifted the shield of the helmet, when it started to fog up. “This is going to be interesting.” The rain from the previous night was gone, but it left a heavy humidity behind and in the warmth of the morning, everything took on a hazy eeriness. Reaching the garage, she went inside and jumped on the bombshell. “I hope you’re a mudder.” Patting the tank, she put the key in and turned it on. Flipping out the kick start, she closed her eyes and shoved her foot back with effort. Opening her eyes, she stared as the engine turnedover on the first kick and smiled, sitting happily down on the seat. “That’s my girl.” Patting the tank again and putting it in neutral, Xena rolled the motorcycle up to the garage door and picked up the remote off a bench. Pushing a button, she waited as the door slid slowly upward. Waiting for it to openall the way, she rolled the bike out, then turned and pushed the remote again and tossed it inside as the door started to close. Turning back, she pulled in the clutch and dropped the bike into first and eased the clutch out.

The bombshell eased forward and Xena kept her legs down, until she was past the house and had turned down the drive. The mud got more shallow on the drive and she pulled her legs up as she picked up a little more speed, but kept it in first till she reached the highway. Stopping to check for traffic, she flipped the shield down and eased out onto the asphalt, then gunned the throttle a little, to spin the back tire and dislodge the mud. It also got the back of the yellow rain suit covered and Xena wished, she’d put the other fender on the bike when she rebuilt the bombshell. Shaking her head,she eased off on the throttle and took off at a leisurely pace down the road.

As she rode along, Xena checked her mirrors and spotted a black van some distance behind her. Smiling, she picked up the pace and saw it get smaller in the mirror. Wishing she could feel the wind on her, she tugged at the collar of the rain suit and opened the top, allowing the breeze to filter down between her leather jacket and her t-shirt. “Ahhhh.” Smiling, Xena watched the road carefully and kept a good distance behind the car in front of her, which had become second nature after the accident and had been included in her list of promises to Gabrielle about her driving technique. Chuckling, she checked her mirrors and saw the van closer than before. Frowning, she stared, trying to see the person driving, but couldn’t make out anyone. “I hate tinted windows.” She muttered inside the helmet and shook her head. “Just don’t get on my ass, okay.” Glaring at the van, she returned to watch the road and occasionally checked her mirrors, seeing the van back off. “Thank you.” Sighing, she didn’t pay it anymore attention, until it followed her into the hospital parking lot. Pulling into the motorcycle parking, she saw it pull into a space behind her and waited to see who was going to get out. Staring into the mirror, she unstrapped the helmet and flipped up the shield, but kept it on. When nobody got out of the van, she stood and swung her leg over the seat and took off her helmet, keeping her senses on alert and her eyes off the van. Hearing a car door open and close, she cursed and put the helmet on the seat and unzipped the top of her rain suit. Acting casual, she waited and felt the person coming toward her, when they were within range, she swung her arm sideways and felt her elbow make contact. Stepping back, she took a defensive posture and popped her eyes open. “Jim!”

“Oooowwwww.” Holding his nose, Jim staggered back. “God, Grace!”

“Oh, shit.” Dropping the posture, Xena stepped forward. “I’m sorry.” Moving to her assistant, the warrior tried to help.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Jim asked and waved off the help. “Why did you hit me?”

“I thought you were some thug or something.” Frowning, Xena fought through the waving hand and took a look as blood started to trickle out of Jim’s nose. “Damn.”

“I think you broke my nose.” He whined and tilted his head back, when Grace started to examine him.

Taking a close look, the warrior shook her head. “No, it’s not broken, but I think you’re going to have a couple of nice shiners.” Wincing, she smiled. “I’m so sorry.”

“Well, you should be.” Stepping back, Jim kept his head up. “I’ve got a date tonight.”

Now Xena grimaced and sighed. “Well, I didn’t know it was you. Where did you get the van?” Pointing to the black vehicle. “And why were you following me? You don’t live near me.”

“The van is my sister’s. I stayed with her last night, cause I’m helping her move.” Testing his hose, Jim scowled. “I can’t breath.”

Sighing, the warrior grabbed his arm with one hand and her helmet with the other. “Come on, lets get you fixed up.” Rolling her eyes, when he made whiny noises, Xena led him to the emergency room.

As the pair entered the hospital, an all black Harley pulled up next to the bombshell and the rider cut off the engine. The rider, also in all black leathers, sat and watched the hospital for a long moment, before getting up and starting for the emergency room.

“What happened to him?” Joyce asked and stood up behind the counter.

“She hit me.” Jim whined in a nasally tone.

“It was an accident.” Xena sighed and stopped at the nurses’ station. “Can you get me a kit and bring it to three?”

Chuckling, Joyce nodded. “I can’t wait to hear this one.”

“Just what I needed.” The warrior lamented and drug her victim to the third examining area. “Sit.” She instructed and took off her rain suit. Moving to the gurney, she pried Jim’s hands from his face and tilted his head back. Fingering his nose gently, she felt for any fractures and smiled. “It’s not broken.”

“It feels broken.” Jim protested and shot his eyes at Joyce as she came in carrying a tray. “Can you tell Mary, I won’t be able to make our date, due to mitigating circumstances?”

“Oh, shut up.” Xena said and picked up a gauze bandage and some alcohol. “Or else I’ll use my surgeon’s skill and sew up your mouth.”

“Tough and testy.” Joyce chuckled.

Jim shut up and sat patiently while Grace did damage control. When she was finished, he touched the bandage over his nose. “I don’t think the patients are going to have much confidence in me today.”

“Like they had any to begin with.” Washing her hands, Xena smiled at her handiwork, both injury and cure. “And Mary probably won’t even notice a difference.”

Jim shot her a glare and hopped off the gurney. “You’re not funny.” He nasalIzed.

“Come on.” Chucking, Xena dried off her hands and took him by the arm. “I’ll get you some aspirin and you can start playing on everybody’s sympathy.” Winking at Joyce, she led her assistant out of the examining room and down the hall. “And don’t tell everybody that I’m some kind of paranoid whako.” She smiled at Jim.

“Like they don’t know all ready.” He smiled then winced. “This really sucks.”

“Look, I said I was sorry.” Sighing, the warrior stopped and smiled. “Thank you, Lord. Mary!” Spotting the woman coming around the corner.

“What happened?” Coming up quickly, Mary took a look Jim and frowned.

“She hit me.” Jim pointed to a disgruntled Grace.

“What?” Mary turned to glare at the doctor. “You hit him?”

“Look.” Holding up her hands, Xena closed her eyes. “It was an accident. He came up behind me in the parking lot and I thought he was some kind of thug, okay.” Opening her eyes, she saw the disbelief on two faces. “He’d been following me in that black van and I didn’t know who he was.”

“So you snuck up on her?” Mary turned to Jim and raised her eyebrows.

“I was just coming over to say hello!” He countered. “I wasn’t sneaking.”

Rolling her eyes, Mary took a closer look at him.

“Can you take him and get him some aspirin?” Xena begged. “I left my rain suit in three and my keys in the bike.”

“Sure.” Nodding, Mary continued to study her boyfriend’s face. “This is going to be hard to explain to my parents.”

Jim just huffed.

Smiling, Xena headed back the way she’d come and swung by the examining room and picked up her rain suit. Rolling it into a ball, she carried it under her arm as she stepped outside. Spying her bike she stopped short and stared at the black Harley. Knitting her brow at the unfamiliar motorcycle, she continued to the parking lot and retrieved her keys from the bombshell, then walked around the black bike several times, taking in the flat black of the body and the engine, which really got her attention. “And Gabrielle thinks mine is a beast.” Squatting down, she took a closer look at the inner workings. “This thing is a monster.” Half awestruck, half drooling, the warrior smiled and stood. “I’ve got to find out who belongs to this thing.” Chuckling, she turned to the hospital and started back. When she got to the sliding glass doors, she stopped when the hair stood up on the back of her neck. Wrinkling her brow, she closed her eyes and turned her head from side to side as her skin tingled. “What the?”

“Hello, Xena.” Smiling, T stepped from behind a pillar, then leaned against it and folded her arms across her chest.

Opening her eyes, the warrior turned toward the voice and dropped her rain suit and keys. “T?” Unable to believe her eyes, Xena felt her heart pounding in her ears.

Flicking her eyebrows a couple of times, T left one raised and pushed off the pillar. “So you’ve taken to beating up your assistant, who just happens to be a distant relative, I hear.” Then she grinned impishly and unfolded her arms.

“T!” Moving to the King, Xena threw her arms around her neck and squeezed hard.

“Hello, Xena.” Taking the warrior in a huge hug, T laughed and leaned back, lifting Xena off the ground and spinning around.

“Gods! Where have you been?” Loosening her hold, the warrior put her hands on T’s shoulders. “I just read your scrolls yesterday.” Bouncing like a little kid, the warrior grinned from ear to ear.

“I know, that’s why I’m here.” Releasing the warrior, T stepped back. “That bard is in a lot of trouble over those scrolls.” Smiling wickedly, she leaned down and picked up
the rain suit and keys, then held them out to the warrior. “So you like my bike?” Nodding toward the parking lot.

“No!” Xena shouted and shook her head. “Tell me that monster isn’t yours.”

“And you can’t ride that one either.” Smiling smugly, T laughed.

Growling, the warrior relented the jibe and smiled. “Where the hell have you been? Why haven’t I seen you for two thousand years?”

“Well, now let me see.” Cocking her head, T started to tap her fingers with her thumb. “I’ve been looking after all your many many descendants and running a global Ungaran empire and protecting mankind in general and keeping TPTB off my back, since you’re constantly causing trouble and having to defend myself, when they bring up the issue of the fact that you kicked their asses and I put you two in the same town. I think they were looking for at least twenty years of peace before you found each other.” Scratching her cheek, her brow knitted. “What else? Hmmm. Oh, yes. There’s the month of arguing over the coma thing; that was fun. So basically I’ve been busy fighting with TPTB for the last two thousand years over you and Gabrielle and keeping the world in one piece.”

“And you couldn’t drop in for five minutes?” Unimpressed by the list, Xena frowned.

“I’m here now.” Smiling, with a flick of the eyebrows.

Smiling a little, the warrior rolled her eyes. “Where’s Ares?”

“At home.” Sighing, T looked everywhere but at the warrior.

Shaking her head, Xena let out a long sigh. “I don’t know why you just didn’t leave him in that stupid tomb.”

“I got bored.” Feigning a scowl, T smiled.

“You got horny.” Xena corrected and chuckled.

“And you’re one to talk, Xena.” Putting her hands on her hips. “I’m not the one who mauls their wife in the front seat of a pick up truck.”

The warrior’s jaw dropped and she growled. “You little hussy. You’ve been spying on me.”

“All part of the job.” T added with a wicked smile. “Now. Where’s the bracelets?” Looking at the warrior expectantly.

Xena’s brow wrinkled and she stared. “I don’t know? Don’t you have them?”

“I put them in your mailbox.” Frowning, T raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t you get a package yesterday?”

Slapping her forehead, the warrior rolled her eyes. “It must’ve fallen off the seat, while we were . . .” Smiling, she shrugged guiltily. “It’s probably still in her truck.”

“Typical.” Rolling her eyes as well, T shook her head.

“Are you wearing black?” Xena asked, noticing the King’s outfit for the first time.

Looking down at her leather outfit, T nodded.

“You hate black. You said it makes you feel like the grim reaper.” Arching an eyebrow in a suspicous way.

Shrugging, T smiled. “It goes with the bike.”

“And I bet Ares just loves it.” Knowing that the God of War liked his black leather.

“It goes with the bike.” T said again with more emphasis on the bike part.

Rolling her eyes, Xena smiled. “Right.” Nodding, she sighed and hugged the rain suit. “Man. Gabrielle is going to go nuts. She’s really missed you, ya know.”

“Like I said, I’ve got a few words for that bard.” Putting her hands on her hips, T scowled. “And who told her she could write about me?” Giving the warrior an accusitory stare.

“Not me!” Holding up her hands, the warrior smiled. “Man, T. I’ve really really missed you.”

T let the subject dorp and smiled warmly. “I know. I’m sorry it took me so long to come see you.”

“How long are you going to stay?” Eyeing her friend hopefully.

“As long as it takes to make up for staying away from my best friends for two thousand years.” Smiling big, T watched the happiness on Xena’s face. “So, you going to show me around, or am I going to have to stand here all day?” Pulling off her leather jacket, T placed it over one arm and looked around, feeling the muggy air brush past her bare arms.

“Come on.” Walking backwards, Xena smiled. “You’ll love my office.”

“Oh, yes. The office of the good doctor Grace Morgan.” Grinning impishly, T followed her friend.

“How’s Bud?” Continuing to walk backwards, Xena ran smack dab into Jim. Turning quickly, she smiled. “Sorry.”

“Do you have something against me, or are you trying to tell me something?” He asked grumpily and dusted off his smock.

“I said I was sorry.” Rolling her eyes, Xena sighed.

“Hmm.” Frowning, Jim spotted the woman in black leather and stared, moving his eyes down then up and smiling into dark brown.

T smiled and stared back.

Xena looked at Jim for a moment, then snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Anybody home?”

“I’m Jim.” He said and put out his hand toward T.

“T.” Taking the hand, T gave the warrior a side long glance then returned her eyes to the young man.

“T?” Taking his hand back, Jim frowned, then smiled.

“Her name is way to long and you’d never be able to pronounce it.” Xena filled him in. “Just go with T.” Glancing down at T’s hands, the warrior stared for a moment, then took one and held it up for closer inspection.

Wiggling her fingers, T showed off her human fingernails. “They’re only for show.” She informed the warrior, knowing what the stare was for. “They aren’t permanent.”

“Oh. Gabrielle’s not going to be happy.” Catching her slip of the tongue, Xena dropped the hand and turned to smile at Jim. “Inside joke. Hahaha.” Smiling, she grabbed T’s muscular arm and pulled her down the hall.

“Nice meeting you, Jim.” T smiled over her shoulder and waved.

Jim waved back and stared even after the pair disappeared. “Wow. What a body.”

**********

Xena took T on her rounds and they chatted, catching up on old times and the King made a point of trying to keep a low profile, which was difficult considering her choice of clothing and the fact that the warrior felt the need to introduce her to everyone in the hospital. When the rounds were complete, they went back to Xena’s office and continued to chat on the couch until after noon time. Then the warrior came up with the idea of a little surprise and smiled big, when T rolled her eyes and agreed.

Gabrielle sat, looking over her class. As usual, there were the expected chewed pencils and scratched heads, while the test was being pondered. Smiling, she leaned back in her chair and gazed out the windows. She hadn’t put the posters back up, since Xena hadn’t made another grand entrance since coming she’d given up the university job and the bard enjoyed the view. The clouds had disappeared earlier and left the sky a light blue with the sun having no obstructions for it’s warm rays. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and laid her head back. “Another quiet day.” She whispered, then opened her eyes. “Oh, no you don’t.” Still whispering, the bard sat forward and listened to the distant rumbling. Closing her eyes again, she concentrated on the sound then sighed. Thank you, she thought at the unfamiliar set of rumbling. Two, that leaves Xena out. Smiling, she opened her eyes and studied the rows of bowed heads and checked for the taletell signs of cheating. Smiling again, she found none and put her hands behind her head. Yep, it’s a good day. Hearing the rumbling getting closer, she ignored it until the windows started to rattle and a black Harley pulled up on the sidewalk, followed by the blonde bombshell. Lowering her hands, she sat forward and stared as the two riders got off their respective motorcycles. One she immediately recognized and cursed under her breath. Standing, she looked at the heads that were now staring out the window and rolled her eyes. “Finish that test.” She instructed harshly and headed for the door. “I’m gonna kill her.”

Hopping off the bike, Xena pulled off her helmet and let her hair down. Glancing at the windows, she saw only a few staring eyes and smiled at them. “I think she’s on her way.”

Chuckling, T stood up and pulled off her helmet and shook out her hair.

Mrs. Lynch was out the door like a shot and moved toward the two women with angry intent. “Look here!” She shouted and pointed. “I’ve had it with you. I don’t care who your father is. If you don’t get that thing . . .”

T pulled off her jacket and stared at the woman coming toward her. Lowering her head, she held the woman’s eyes and growled a low throaty tiger growl. Taking a step
forward, she raised the volume, showed a couple of white oversized incisors and let her eyes change to golden tiger eyes.

Mrs. Lynch stood and stared, then promptly turned and scuttled back the way she’d come.

“That was worth not seeing you for two thousand years, T.” Xena bobbed her head as the ‘grinch’ retreated. “In fact, I would have paid good money for that expression on her face.”

T smiled and turned to the warrior with an impish grin. “It was kind of fun.”

“Xena!” Shouting in Greek, Gabrielle came out the doors like a harpy with her tail on fire and pushed the ‘grinch’ out of the way, so she could glare at the warrior. “Xena!”

“Remember you promised to always protect me.” Xena whispered and smiled at the bard.

Chuckling, T turned around slowly and smiled as the blonde fireball came charging at them. “Hello, Gabrielle.”

Shifting her eyes from the warrior to the voice, the bard stopped in her tracks.

“Look who I found.” Xena said with a smile and moved behind T’s body.

“T?” The bard whispered, as she was caught between being angry and total system shutdown.

“Surprise!” The warrior tried again, holding out her arms.

Moving forward slowly, Gabrielle smiled at last and wrapped her arms around T’s neck when the King opened her arms. “T!” Hugging the woman tightly, she felt strong
arms wrap around her waist and her feet leave the ground, as the world started to spin. Closing her eyes, she laughed until she cried.

“Surprised to see me?” T asked as she lowered the bard to the ground.

Gabrielle gave her typical reaction and hit T in the arm several times. “Where the hell have you been?”

“Don’t you just feel so welcome?” Xena chuckled from behind and ducked when a green glare came her way.

“I’ve been busy.” T said and rubbed her arm.

Shaking her hand, the bard glared at the leather clad pair. “And now you just ride up out of the blue?” Frowning, she tried not to show that her hand felt like it was broken.

“Would you rather I popped into the living room?” Staring back at the bard with a smile.

“You know what I mean.” Easing the frown into a smile, Gabrielle turned to the warrior. “And I suppose this was your idea?”

“I thought it qualified as an emergency.” Xena said , still from behind T.

“Sorry, Gabrielle. I let her talk me into it.” Chuckling, T sat down on her bike, which made the warrior jump behind her.

“Hmmmm.” Folding her arms across her chest, the bard smiled. “You’re both a bad influence on each other.” Raising an eyebrow. “And what are you wearing?”

“Ares likes her in black leather.” Xena smirked over T’s shoulder and gave the bard a grin.

“Ares?” Gabrielle eyed T with a smirk.

“The outfit goes with the bike!” T growled and turned her head to glare at the warrior.

“Sure it does.” Chuckling, the warrior patted T’s muscular shoulder.

As a bell sounded, the bard grimiced and closed her eyes. “Damn. My class.”

Standing, T gave her a gentle push. “Go ahead, we’ll meet you by your truck.”

Smiling back, Gabrielle gave T another hug then left to take care of her students.

“Despite everything I know to be true, Xena.” T said as she watched the bard walk away. “I’d say that you’re probably the luckiest woman in every lifetime.”

“I know.” The warrior nodded and smiled.

“Come on, lets get these moved before the grinch calls the police.” Picking up her helmet, T put it on and hopped on the monster. Cranking it easily, she smiled as she stroked the throttle and watched Xena scowl.

“I know you got that thing on purpose, so don’t expect me to be jealous.” Xena scoffed and hopped on the bombshell. “She parks on the far side.” Cranking the bike, the warrior followed the King into the parking lot and around the rows of cars.

Inside the class room, Gabrielle collected the tests and smiled as the pair rode down the sidewalk toward the parking lot. Shaking her head, she couldn’t fight the overwhelming feeling of pure happiness. “Welcome home, T.”

“It’s locked.” Xena said when she turned off the bike and watched T put her hand on the door of Gabrielle’s truck.

Sighing, T grabbed the handle and turned to the warrior. Pulling the handle, the door opened and she smiled. “How quickly they forget.”

“God, right.” Rolling her eyes, the warrior hopped off her bike and joined T. “Find it.”

Reaching over the seat, T picked up the small box. “Got it.” Coming out of the truck, she handed the box to the warrior with a smile.

Xena started to open the box then stopped. “I’d better wait for Gabrielle.”

“Wise choice.” T chuckled and leaned up against the truck. “I’m glad to see she’s had a positive influence on you.” Smiling smugly.

“Don’t give me that smug look.” Leaning beside her friend, the warrior tossed the box in the air and caught it. “I’m not all bad and you know it.”

“Not according to TPTB.” T informed her. “They cringe every time your name comes up.”

“So are you one of them?” Xena asked and turned to lean facing T.

“Hardly.” T sighed. “I think they get just as annoyed at me as they do you.”

“What have you done?” Raising an eyebrow with the question.

“Well, first. I spend a lot of time defending you.” She said pointedly, then smiled. “And they’re still pissed that I let Ares out.”

“I read about an earthquake in Macedonia in my last lifetime.” Smiling, Xena nudged T. “So was that a natural thing, or did you decide to do a little shake and bake with Ares?”

T smiled smugly and shrugged. “Let’s just say that after spending so much time alone, Ares was more than happy about getting some company.”

“Were you drunk?” Laughing Xena knew exactly what had happened.

Laughing along with the warrior, T shook her head. “No. After almost two thousand years, I didn’t need any encouragement.”

“Hah! You dirty dog, you.” Grinning, Xena turned to the bard as she walked up. “Hi.”

“Do I want to know what you’re talking about?” Smiling, she dropped her briefcase in the bed of the truck and leaned in to kiss the warrior.

“No.” T said very quickly and wrapped her arm around Xena’s neck.

“Ack.” The warrior complained through a laugh.

Shaking her head, the bard smiled. “I’m having very bad flashbacks right about now.”

Letting the warrior go with a shove, T snatched the box from Xena and handed it to the bard. “Here. This is for you.”

“This was in the truck.” Staring at the box, then looking up at the pair.

“Locks don’t stand a chance against gods.” Xena smiled ruefully.

“Apparently.” Smirking, the bard started to unwrap the box and found a black velvet one inside. Tossing the plain brown paper in the bed of the truck, she opened the box and sucked in a deep breath.

“I thought you might want them back.” T said, taking the box and setting it on the edge of the bed. Smiling, she lifted one of the gold bracelets out and reached for the bard’s right hand. Bringing it up, she undid the clasp and wrapped the bracelet around Gabrielle’s wrist. Catching the clasp, she smiled and tugged on the dangling tiger head.

“It’s just as beautiful as I remember.” Gabrielle whispered and held up her hand to get a closer look.

Taking out the other bracelet, T snatched the warrior’s wrist and glared. “Stand still.”

Realizing she hadn’t moved, Xena scowled and allowed T to put the bracelet on, then gave in to the feeling of warmth and smiled. “I’ve missed this.”

“Aaaaaaa.” Gabrielle gasped and lifted T’s hand to her face. “What happened to your nails?” Running the long tapered fingers between hers with a look of remorse.

“I told you she wasn’t going to be happy.” Xena gloated.

T laughed out loud and smiled. Glancing at her fingers she lifted an eyebrow and the human nails were replaced by her normal claws. “Happy?”

“Why do you do that?” The bard asked, still holding T’s hand and playing with the claws.

“Makes life easier.” Shrugging, the King sighed. “The gloves got old after the first five hundred years.”

“What do you care?” Xena asked, still playing with the bracelet.

“I don’t care what TPTB think, but I do have to mingle with normal people and it makes them a lot more comfortable.” Taking her hand back, T switched the nails back to human. “Besides, I’m used to them now.”

“Well, I don’t like them.” Gabrielle spoke with a distinct amount of annoyance.

Folding her arms across her chest, T leaned down and pressed their foreheads together. “Tell ya what. When I’m out of the public eye, I’ll go natural. How’s that?”

“Good.” The bard nodded her head and smiled. “Now, lets get out of here. I’m starving.”

“Careful.” Xena whispered when T looked like she was going to say something. “She’s touchy.” Giving a mock shiver, the warrior got a slap on the butt. “Hey!”

“I can see this is going to be a very interesting evening.” Smiling with a hint of warning, Gabrielle pulled the warrior down for a kiss then pushed through the brunettes to the
door. “I’ll see ya at home.” Opening the door, she hopped into the cab and rolled down the window. “You two better move those things, before I run them over.” Pointing at the
twin Harleys parked behind her truck.

Moving like lightning, when Gabrielle started the truck, T and Xena strapped on their helmets and pulled on their jackets. Jumping on their bikes, they quickly kicked the
engines over and scuttled out of the way as the bard started to back up. Peeling out, they circled the parking lot and followed the dark green J10 down the road.

**********

Gabrielle pulled into the garage and smiled as the two Harleys made a left and headed for Xena’s garage. Getting out of the truck, she pulled her brief case out of the bed and smiled at the bracelet. Looking up, she headed out of the garage for the porch and smiled as the twin monster engines shut off. Sighing in relief, she opened the front door.

“Wait.” T said and glanced over her shoulder at the bard.

“What?” Xena asked and glanced as well, then let her eyes pop out of her head when Gabrielle went flying off the porch, covered by a very familiar, very furry, very large Bud.
Laughing, she had to take action when the bike tilted suddenly and she quickly put down the kick stand. Jumping off, she pulled the helmet off and walked to the garage door and tossed it on a bench. “She’s gonna kill you.”

Laughing as well, T tossed her helmet beside the warrior’s and watched the bard wrestle the tiger for her briefcase. “She’s picked up a few interesting words along the way, I see.”

“T.” Xena shook her head. “You’re on your own with this one.” Walking out of the garage, the warrior tried to look concerned as she got about half way and the words coming from the bard’s mouth made her blush.

T smiled and counted to three. “Bud! Look who’s here!” She shouted and saw the tiger’s eyes focus on the warrior.

“T!.” Shouting at the top of her lungs, when Bud started for her, Xena turned to glare at the King, just before she took off running.

“Yea. They missed me.” Nodding, T watched warrior and tiger disappear around the back of the house. She made it half way to the amused bard, before the pair appeared again and came running at her. Smiling, she waved and stepped aside when Xena tried to smack her at a full run. “You’re getting old, Bud.” Giving the tiger some extra encouragement, she laughed at the response from the warrior. Completing the distance to the porch, she stepped up and joined Gabrielle. “Sorry about that.”

Dusting off her skirt, Gabrielle glared at her. “I know I don’t need to ask if you did that on purpose.”

“He missed you.” T said with a pout in proxy.

“How long are you going to let them run around?” Tossing her briefcase inside the door, she smiled as the pair made another pass.

“How long can Xena hold out?” Turning to the bard, when the pair disappeared again.

“Given the correct motivation?” Gabrielle held up her hand and made a face, twisting her hand from side to side.

“I’ll give him half an hour.” Shrugging, she nodded to the door. “Got anything cool to drink in there?”

Smiling big, Gabrielle nodded and grabbed T’s arm. “Come on, I’ll give you the nickel tour.”

*********

An hour and a half later, Xena opened the front door, breathing heavily and staggered inside. “I’m . . . . . . .gonna . . . . . . kill . . . . . . you.” She huffed as sweat poured from her
face.

“Is she talking to you?” T asked from the couch, then turned to look at the bard beside her and took another sip of her iced tea.

“No. I think she’s talking to you.” Gabrielle smiled and waved to the warrior. “Hi, honey.”

Rolling her eyes, Xena got about four steps inside the door, before she collapsed.

Sticking her head over the arm of the couch, the bard considered the panting warrior. “Should we be concerned?”

“Nah.” T shook her head. “She’s as healthy as a horse.” Taking another sip of the tea, she set the glass down on the coffee table and snapped her fingers. A few seconds later, Bud trotted in the door, stepping over the warrior and walked to the couch and promptly laid down at Gabrielle’s feet.

“Hello, Bud.” Gabrielle chirped and leaned over to scratch a striped head. “Did you have a good run?”

Bud purred and put his paw on her knee.

“T.” Xena gasped.

“Yes?” T responded with a smile.

“Scrolls.” Smiling, the warrior closed her eyes as the paybacks began.

“What?” Gabrielle asked and turned to T, who had a very serious face on. “Ooops.” Wincing, the bard held up her hands and got up, slowly backing away from her friend who rose as well and walked steadily toward her. “Now, T, just hold on. I know that you said I shouldn’t write about you, but you’ve got to realize that I’m a bard and that’s kinda what I do.” Smiling, she stepped backwards over Xena’s body and waggled her finger.

“So, you’re just doing what comes naturally?” T stepped over Xena without smiling.

“Yea, that’s right.” Nodding heartily, Gabrielle kept backing up. “I’m a bard. I write.”

“Funny.” T smiled wickedly. “I’m a tigress. Guess what comes naturally for me.” Raising her eyebrows, she raised her hands as well, showing off her claws.

“T!” Shouting, Gabrielle turned and ran.

Following close behind, T roared.

Managing a breathless chuckle, the warrior sighed. “Welcome home, T.”


**********

The End.


/7

Epilogue: Jim’s nose healed quite quickly and Mary didn’t seem to mind the bandage, or the nasal tone in his voice. However, she was none to happy with the way her boyfriend described Grace’s friend and added to Jim’s injuries with several smacks to the back of his head, when the words ‘stacked like a brick shit house’ came out of his mouth.

Xena and Gabrielle recovered from their runs and even managed to survive several attacks by Bud, who was banned from sleeping in their bedroom after stealing the covers at a very indiscrete moment, one night.

T, remembering what it was like to share a home with the couple, turned down the offered spare bedroom and decided that separate quarters were the best idea. After listening to several ideas from her friends, she finally settled on a large two story log cabin, that she snapped her fingers and set back about a hundred yards behind the barn. There she spent many a quiet night, napping, playing with Bud, taking care of her usual dull Kingly business and hoping she didn’t get caught when a certain God of War popped in. She also nabbed her scrolls from the safe and took them to the Palace in the ancient Ungaran forest and placed them in the archives.

The email that the warrior had sent off, got one angry reply from someone in Hawaii, who threatened to sue if they were harassed anymore and the other ended up coming back as non-deliverable. Xena, herself, was banned from the bard’s computer, pending litigation, until she discovered the irate message was a bogus reply T had snapped into existence. Then, the warrior started plotting her revenge.



Thanks for reading.


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